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    Palestine's Ambassador to the U.N. Riyad Mansour has called on the Security Council to investigate into the killings. | Photo: EFE

Published 21 April 2018

The United States has so far blocked two attempts by members of the U.N. Security Council to launch an independent investigation into the violence in Gaza.  

As Israel continues its open-fire policy against protesters in Gaza, Palestine's Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour called Friday on the U.N. Security Council to launch an investigation into the killing of at least 39 Palestinians and the wounding of at least 4,000 more.

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The United States has so far blocked two attempts by members of the U.N. Security Council to launch an independent investigation into the violence in Gaza.  

During a press conference in New York, Mansour also said the Palestinian Authority (PA) will submit a list of complaints to the U.N. Human Rights Council with the goal of establishing a fact-finding mission in Gaza.

The PA's statement was issued after the fourth Great March of Return protests, during which four demonstrators – including a 15-year-old boy – were killed by Israeli snipers. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 445 Palestinians were wounded Friday.

"It seems that the Israeli occupying forces are not restraining themselves, they're not listening to anyone and they are continuing with this massacre," Mansour said.

Israel has justified its use of lethal force, arguing that protesters are being directed by Hamas – the political organization that ruled Gaza and is considered by Israel and its Western allies to be a terrorist organization.

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However, human rights organizations have called on Israel to use restraint, insisting that lethal force is only justified when there is imminent threat to life. Gaza protesters remain within Gaza: they have not been able to cross the fence.

U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov wrote on Twitter: "It is outrageous to shoot at children! How does the killing of a child in Gaza today help peace? It doesn't! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. Children must be protected from violence, not exposed to it."

Israel's response has garnered international condemnation, including from Jewish U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and U.S.-Israeli actress Natalie Portman.

Earlier this month, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced her office will conduct a preliminary examination to monitor the situation in Gaza.

The ICC's Office of the Prosecutor is responsible for examining situations where genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression appear to have been committed.

Protests demanding Palestinian refugees' right to return will continue until May 15, the Nakba or 'Catastrophe,' when Palestinians will commemorate 70 years since over 700,000 people were expelled from their homes following the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948.

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